Mounding Potatoes – Or Not

Nov 29, 2022

There are many varieties of potatoes (aka spuds) but only two key categories they all fall into. Determinate and indeterminate.

  • Determinate potatoes don’t grow very tall and only produce spuds in one layer of soil so you don’t need to mound them. They also generally mature quicker than indeterminate types, a good thing to know when you’re wanting spuds in your life sooner rather than later. Varieties include Kennebec (that’s what I’m growing at the moment), Pink Eye, Carlingford, Purple Congo, Spunta and Red Pontiac.
  • Indeterminate potatoes produce potatoes along the length of the stem up to around 30-40cm in height*. Varieties include Dutch Cream (that’s what I’m growing at the moment), up to date, King Edward, Nicola, Brownell, Sapphire, Salad Rose and Pink Fir Apple.
  • Wondering where to get good certified seed potatoes from? A great source in Australia is The Diggers Club.

We’re growing some of both in different beds so we can treat them differently. You can check out a little photo story below showing you the steps on how I’m mounding my indeterminate patch.

Because we have very narrow grow spaces I’m using some 30cm high wire mesh to support the edges- usually you can just scrape soil/mulch in mounds around each plant.

    

30cm high mesh to support the edges in my narrow grow space. 

I stuffed straw around the edges to stop compost falling out and to reduce evaporation/drying out. 

I then mounded compost around each plant to form little mounds/hills and finished the whole thing off with a thick layer of mulch to prevent evaporation. The mulch also provides extra protection to any spuds that grow close to the surface and risk getting exposed to the sun (which turns them green).

*There’s actually no point in trying to go taller as the plant doesn’t produce reliably higher than around 40cm. So while the mythical potato tower concept looks great, it’s not a sure thing.

your thoughts:

2 Comments

  1. Janice Chan

    Thanks for this article, Hannah. I’m pretty excited to have your/Digger’s list of indeterminate and determinate potatoes – couldn’t find anything Australian when I researched a few years ago. Disappointed that I have to wait so long until seed potatoes are available again, well that’s how it goes with gardening cycles – something to look forward to!

    thanks
    Janice

    Reply
  2. Warren

    I recently discovered this reality, of the two types of spuds, and will be focussing on determinates. I grow mainly in bathtubs etc, so mounding is a pain. Are you aware of a definitive list of varieties by in/determinate category? I found some but there are contradictions.
    I’m also a late discoverer of diploid spuds, and love the heritage aspect, and the wonderful flavours.
    Your work is inspirational, by the way 😊

    Reply

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